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Go in Peace

Faigy Peritzman

Inner peace makes us vessels for blessing

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

"M

ay Hashem bless you and watch over you. May Hashem cause His countenance to shine on you and favor you. May Hashem raise His countenance toward you and grant you peace.” (Bamidbar 6:24-26)

 

Chazal tell us that the first part of the Kohanim’s brachah, “May Hashem bless you,” contains all the blessings of the world.

If so, why do the Kohanim then conclude with a separate blessing of peace? Wouldn’t peace be included in the first phrase? (Rav Wallach, Maayan Shvui)

I live on a deadend street. It has its perks and quirks, one of them being that I share this narrow street with three boys’ schools. Carpool hours are insane and I avoid them. But even throughout the day, pulling out of my street is a massive headache. Until evening, when peace and quiet reign.

Peace is not like other blessings. It’s a condition and foundation for blessings to rest upon it, like plowing is preparation for planting and paper is a foundation for writing.

Peace is the vessel that contains all blessings. Without it, the blessings may descend, but they’ll go to waste without something to hold them.

During Bayis Sheini, Klal Yisrael kept Torah, avodah, and gemilus chasadim, yet the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because they lacked peace.

I have a very big car, so I need a large parking space. It’s one of the drawbacks of owning a car not intended for roads originally designed for camels.

But I managed until September a couple of years ago, when the cheder hired a new rebbi who also had a very big car. This rebbi liked to park right opposite my car, and pulling out became a logistical nightmare. My husband spoke with this man a few times, but he was noncommittal. “I leave plenty of space for a good driver to pull out.” Subtext there wasn’t hard to pinpoint. Not only was this man cramping my space, he clearly felt I was inadequate.

I’d boil over with resentment at this fellow who couldn’t be bothered to be decent and accommodating. I lived here! What right did he have to encroach on my territory?

The greatest commodity to have is shalom bayis, shalom between neighbors, shalom in your community, and in the whole land.

Yet the Alshich (Bamidbar 25:12) adds that the most important type of peace is inner peace. That’s why the Kohanim’s brachah stresses that Hashem “grants you peace.” Peace within yourself is precious.

How does one achieve inner peace? By keeping mitzvos. As Shlomo Hamelech says in Mishlei (3:17): “Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace.”

Take a look at the faces of our Torah leaders, how happy and content they are. Every mitzvah a person does brings him closer to happiness and inner peace. Then he becomes a vessel to contain all the blessings of Hashem. 

One horrible afternoon, I got a call that a relative was admitted to the hospital and things looked grim. I had an appointment with my kids, and my mind was teeming with fear and worry as I whispered words of Tehillim while getting the kids in the car. Pulling out, I was majorly distracted and sure enough, the ultimate happened: I scraped the side of this man’s car. With tears threatening to fall, I barged into the cheder and found him in the teacher’s room.

He came outside ready for battle, but I stayed huddled against my car, my lips still saying Tehillim, my brain miles away in the emergency room.

Sensing my distress, he approached me gingerly. “It’s just a scratch.”

The tears began to stream down my cheeks. “My relative needs rachamei Shamayim.”

Immediately he switched gears, offering me words of brachah and nechamah. “This should be a kapparah. Don’t worry.”

I was shocked how his whole demeanor was one of genuine concern for a fellow Yid.

My relative did have a refuah shleimah. And the scratch was painted over without any telltale signs. But I’d changed, the scar of that afternoon altering my perspectives.

Once I dropped my vendetta, this man and my husband became friendly. Several times he helped us with car-related issues. Plus, he always parked halfway down the block, occasionally helping me back out when someone else had blocked me in.

How easy it was to let go and cruise along life without the added pressures of grudges and grumbles. And how pleasant it was that throughout the whole day, peace (but not quiet!) reigned.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 646)

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